Massive use of dangerous soil fumigant Metam based on loophole construction. Fifteen EU member states show no appetite for a transition to sustainable agriculture


The documents show France is the main user of Metam, pumping 6,5 Million kg. of Metam in the soil, while Spain, Portugal, Greece and the Netherlands are also heavy users. UK and Italy failed to report the amount used.
The Council decision obliged the “15” to work seriously on alternatives, particularly by action plans, but no-one of the “15” started such a plan. Alternatives are readily available like a wider crop rotation and the use of resistant varieties. The fact that 12 Member States do not need Metam makes it very likely the “essential use ” is unjustified.

Hans Muilerman of PAN Europe feels “the “15” EU Member States are not very serious on the transition to a sustainable agriculture and like to stick to outdated unsustainable practices like monocultures and killing off soil biodiversity. Commission will have trouble getting these “15” on board of Directive 128/2009/EC requiring every MS to implement sustainable practices by 2014. Health Commissioner Dalli needs to act now”.

Mr. Dalli also soon needs to decide on a new application for Metam in a “fast-track” procedure in an attempt to legalise Metam. PAN-Europe urges Mr. Dalli not to propose an approval in any way and adopt a policy to completely phase-out soil fumigants.

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Background notes:

European Food Safety Authority; Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance metam. EFSA Journal 2011;9(9):2334. [97 pp.].

PAN Europe report; Essential use of soil fumigant Metam Sodium; the unsustainable "15" identified

PAN Europe; Letter to Commissioner Dalli Concerning Soil fumigation and Metam Sodium

For further information please contact:

Hans Muilerman, PAN Europe, hans [at],Tel: +31 (0)6-55807255.

© PAN Europe, Rue de la Pacification 67, 1000, Brussels, Belgium, Tel. +32 2 318 62 55

PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.